Wednesday, March 5, 2014
So I got out the fine china (it's hand wash only, so it was very dusty!), and Desert Girl invited over her good friend Isaac, and we made cute little muffins and put toothpicks in cantaloupe and a tablecloth on the table and it was all so over the top! (Just like that last sentence.)
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Delta, Utah holds an annual Snow Goose Festival late every February. Thousands of snow geese congregate as they rest on their migration from the Imperial Valley in California to northwestern Canada, near the Anderson River. In Delta, they forage in the nearby agricultural fields and also rest on the open water. To our surprise, there wasn't much open water, but fortunately enough near the reservoir inlet to allow them to have some space.
Although we like birds, I have to admit that what attracts us the most is the Wild Goose Chase, a 5K/10K run. The last two years the weather was miserable, and I decided that we weren't going to sign up until the week of the race, and only if the weather forecast was good. Fortunately this year the weather cooperated.
"I'm going to win the race."
"No, I am."
"Well, I'm taller than you, so I'm going to win."
"I'm 6, so that means I'm going to win."
Then we went in search of food. First we went to another part of the reservoir, where we found a paltry three booths, and only pizza and donuts as food offerings. I guess the cold and wind of years past scared off vendors. So we went to the fairgrounds, where we found the quilt show and quite a few vendors, but only one food booth. We bought some food and headed outside as there wasn't anyplace to eat inside, and ate in the parking lot.
After a stop at the playground, we went to the West Millard Swimming Pool. I had called ahead but had gotten no answer (or answering machine), so we were sad when we found a sign saying the pool was closed to be replastered. (Swimming after the Wild Goose Chase has become a tradition, and is such a nice way for the kids to have fun and the adults to work out sore muscles!) To try and quench the kids' tears, we went to McDonald's and redeemed the ice cream coupons they had received in their race packs. While I was in the restroom, a nice lady from Tooele who had come down for the festival asked if I had seen the geese. I said just from very far away, as so much of the reservoir was covered with ice. She gave me directions to a spot that was close to the geese, and we had a great viewing spot!
Sunday, March 2, 2014
|Spring storm clouds|
|Trees budding (uh, oh, this could be trouble!)|
|A spring flower (hat) at the Winter Carnival|
|My mini greenhouse|
|New sprouts in my garden|
Saturday, March 1, 2014
It's time for a check-in on Desert Survivor's Backyard Bird Challenge. How are you doing? We've had a very slow couple of weeks, with only a rough-legged hawk added to our species list. But we've seen some birds outside our yard lately, like Canada geese, mallards, mountain bluebirds, western meadowlarks, and sandhill cranes, that we are hoping we can add soon.
Even though we are in a bit of a slump, we still hit 15 birds for the month of February, which is pretty awesome. Even better is when I checked our list, hanging on the refrigerator, and noticed a new entry (this was before the rough-legged hawk):
That made me think he might be ready for another little tool to make birding a little more interesting for him:
So we bought Bird Log Kids: A Kid's Journal to Record Their Birding Experiences. Desert Boy was excited to have his very own specialized journal. Here's his first entry:
The journal is great because he includes birds anywhere we go, not just in the backyard. We saw about 5,000 snow geese near Delta, Utah, when we went to the annual Snow Goose Festival (to be reported soon on this blog!). That made an impression. When I pointed out to Desert Boy that we had 15 backyard bird sightings, and that would fill up half his journal, he got pretty excited. We are taking it slow, though, with only a couple entries a week so he doesn't burn out.
I have to say that participating in the backyard bird challenge has made me a lot more aware of the birds that live in the yard. We see about 15 European starlings, a couple Eurasian collared doves, a handful of dark-eyed juncos, a northern flicker, a magpie, and some pinyon jays almost every day. I scan the yard every time I go outside, looking for something out of the ordinary. A great horned owl hoots me to sleep a few evenings a week.
If you haven't started the Backyard Bird Challenge, it's not too late! The rules are easy: keep track of what bird species you see in your backyard! Now that we're starting March, it will be interesting to see what different birds appear from those we saw in February.
Note: this post contains an affiliate link, wherein you will be able to purchase an item (or anything else you put in your cart for 24 hours) for the same regular price but I will receive a very small commission, which helps keep these posts coming.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
St. George, Utah, has a wonderful urban trail system. We took our bikes on our last visit to take advantage of it. You can find a map of the trail system here, although I wanted a larger version and was able to get one (along with a lot of other great information) from the BLM office on Riverside Drive (follow the signs to recreation information).
I had previously ridden some of the trails with the kids, including along the Virgin River, and found the trails amazing. Here you are, in a fairly large city, but you can get away from it all so easily and be right next to nature!
|Canada geese on top of a cliff next to the trail|
We started at the Riverside trailhead and went upriver towards Slickrock Park. Due to a detour we had to do some of our own route finding, which included riding on some dirt right next to the Dinosaur Discovery Center, which we had enjoyed last year. It didn't take long to get to the unique park, which consists of two huge boulders.
Next we rode a few blocks to go over to Centennial Park. It's so much fun to check out the different playgrounds, and the kids liked the different challenges. After playing a bit, we rode a few streets over to Middleton Wash trail, and got on at the beginning.